Occurrence & cultivation of the birchAll birch species are deciduous trees or shrubs. They grow with individual, but sometimes also several trunks and reach thereby stature heights of up to 30 meters.
Birches are a genus of birch family. All birch species are deciduous trees or shrubs. They grow with individual, but sometimes also several trunks and reach thereby stature heights of up to 30 meters. Their wood is rather soft and assumes in the grain the colors black, light brown and white. The inflorescences of the birch are also called kitten. The fruit stalks are leathery scaled and stand upright or hanging.
Birches grow mainly in the northern hemisphere of the earth. There they come from Europe via North America to Japan. Their wood is often used as firewood because the essential oils of the bark fulfill the function of a catalyst during firing processes. In addition, many cosmetics, but also hair conditioners contain components of the birch.
Mode of action & use
The leaves of many birch species contain many flavonoids, which are associated with a vascular and stomach-protective effect. Flavonoids have been shown to be antiallergic, antiviral and antioxidant. They activate certain cells of the immune system and are therefore anti-inflammatory. Presumably, flavonoids even have cancer-preventing properties, as current laboratory tests have put into the room for the first time.
In addition to flavonoids birch leaves also contain relatively high amounts of saponins, which also have anti-inflammatory and diuretic acting as well as expectorant. In addition to these cleansing functions saponins bind the cholesterol and also support the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to saponins and flavonoids, vitamin C, essential oils and tannins are important constituents of birch leaves. While the essential oils help against inflammation in the throat and stomach cramps, the tannins of the leaves inhibit bleeding and compact the tissue with a protective layer.
Like the flavonoids, they also counteract inflammatory processes. In the bark of the birch again sit phytosterols and terpenes, which are connected with cholesterol-inhibiting and circulating and excretion-promoting properties. The Betulin contained in the strain thus has proven to prevent cancer. Birch sap is usually extracted from the bark and is often used in the form of tinctures or oils.
The leaves and leaf buds of the birch are in turn usually processed into powder preparations or consumed as a whole. Tea can be made from all ingredients of the plant and is therefore one of the most popular birch products. The leaf buds of the plant are collected in March. The harvest time for birch leaves is between May and June. Birch sap, on the other hand, is tapped mainly between March and May.
The trunk is tapped, so that the juice can drain. Just the juice is because of its cleansing effect for the treatment of open wounds, rashes or dandruff. For this purpose, for example, birch baths were taken earlier. Hair washing with birch water was then considered a preventive measure against symptoms such as hair loss.
Importance for Health, Prevention & Treatment
In folk medicine, the birch is used for several centuries because of their medicinally active ingredients. Especially the medical application of the Sandbirke has a long tradition, as its ingredients are particularly blood purifying and diuretic acting and so can be used against rheumatism, gout and dropsy. The kidneys also benefit from the intake of all birch components, as the diuretic effect causes a purifying effect for them.
Birch trees also have a sudorific effect and trigger a healing fever in acute illnesses. In this context, the buds of the plant are mainly used in respiratory diseases. One of the main uses of the popular birch teas from boiled fresh birch leaves is still the area of inflammatory processes. Both in bladder infections, as well as kidney inflammation and inflammatory processes in the gastrointestinal tract acts the hot drink. In addition, it can be used against cough and discomfort of the digestive system. Birch tea, in particular, can be prepared by the user by making too little effort by collecting birch leaves and letting two tablespoons of it in one liter of hot water for ten minutes.
The cold tea can be used against rashes or poorly healing wounds in the form of a compress. The birch can thus be used against acute complaints. Above all, the flavonoids and betulin of the birch bark can also fulfill preventive functions because of their anti-cancer properties. Both external and internal diseases can be treated with the plant. As a rule, users do not have to expect risks and side effects.